Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Review: Open Heart

Most of us have read Elie Wiesel at some point in our lives. "Night" has become fairly standard in high school literature. I can't pinpoint in my memory which grade it was that I read it, but it was an extremely emotional book. Mr. Wiesel survived the Holocaust, and Night is his story. He has since written many other books and plays, though I have not read any of them.

I found his latest memoir, Open Heart, on the library shelf of new nonfiction. It's a small book (less than 100 pages) with Elie's profile on the front. You can tell just by looking at his face what a kind, wise, smart man he is. I want to hug him and apologize for all the terrible things that happened to him before even my parents were born.

At 82 years old, Wiesel was in denial that his heart wasn't well. In fact, when his cardiologist told him to go straight to the hospital immediately, he instead spent a few hours at his office attending to his work. When he finally made it to the hospital, he found out that he required open heart surgery to repair the blocked valves in his heart.

He reflects during this time of surgery and recovery, speaking not only of the family he lost in the concentration camp but also of his family now; his wife, his son, the people who matter to him.

It felt as if he wrote this book thinking he didn't have much time left. It was like he had so much he wanted to say, but just didn't have the energy to do so. He mentions that there are many things he still wants to learn about and research. I can only imagine the wealth of knowledge that must already be inside that head of his.

If you have an hour of two, sit down to this book. That's all it will take to read it cover to cover. If you do, let me know what you think.

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